Those foxes barking at the moon
Tell me easy weather will soon be gone
Frost is in the air
Change is everywhere, darling
This time of year, a change comes over me
― Dillon Bustin, Almanac
Slowly but surely, the world around us is changing as Earth’s Northern Hemisphere prepares for its long winter sleep. Squirrels are gathering nuts for winter food. Birds are flying south since food here will soon become scarce. And the lazy warm days of summer are turning into the cool nights of autumn, soon to be followed by the frigid snow-covered days of winter. Change is, indeed, everywhere, as Dillon Bustin sings.
It has been said that the only constant is change; that change is inevitable (except, of course, from a vending machine). The changes of autumn all around us make an excellent time to look back at our year and think about any changes we might like to make in our own lives. Yes, I know the tradition is to do that on New Year’s Day via the resolution. But let’s face it — New Year’s resolutions are well nigh worthless. They’re made in the heat of a holiday moment with a lot of fire and gusto that quickly gets put out by the snows and cold of winter. But carefully thought out life changes made in the lengthening cool nights of autumn have a better chance of sticking.
Fall is indeed a time of change. Let it change you too.
Last month, I spoke of the different kinds of animals that should be welcomed into your garden because they prey on or repel the critters that are generously helping themselves to your garden bounty. But we’ve been overlooking one animal that lives very close to you. In fact, he may even be a member of your very own family! No, I’m not talking about your mother-in-law or your brother-in-law. I’m talking about man’s best friend — Canis familiaris – the dog.
Allowing the family dog to roam around your yard near the garden or even inside the garden is a great way to keep the critters away. Most dogs will naturally chase squirrels and rabbits, and even opossums and raccoons would rather be left alone then have to deal with a dog. Besides, since you’re feeding it all that expensive, high-class, natural ingredient dog food, your dog ought to be earning his keep by contributing to your gardening efforts.
If you’re going to use your dog as a critter repellent, there are several things to consider. First, consider the kind of dog you have. A retriever, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, or Great Pyrenees will probably do an excellent job of scaring off the garden thieves. A Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, or a Dachshund – probably not so much. Second, if your dog likes to dig, then letting him in the garden is probably not a good idea. Better to have a high fence, and let the dog do its work outside the garden. Lastly, if your dog has a lazy or cowardly personality, it probably won’t make a very good critter repellent.
A dog by itself probably won’t be enough to keep the marauding critters away all of the time. But combined with other repellents – fences, odor-emitting products, predator urine, etc., the family pet can be another tool in your arsenal of critter chasers.